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April 12, 2010

BRAZIL: Mitsubishi importer to assemble cars

Mitsubishi's Brazilian assembly plant in Goiás state, right in the centre of the country, has been expanded only modestly since opening in 1998 but will soon double capacity and add passenger cars to the line.

Mitsubishi’s Brazilian assembly plant in Goiás state, right in the centre of the country, has been expanded only modestly since opening in 1998 but will soon double capacity and add passenger cars to the line.

The brand is distrubuted here by Souza Ramos Group, which both imports built-up vehicles from Japan and locally assembles four models with average local content above 50%.

Now chairman Eduardo Souza Ramos has announced an investment of US$450m (BRL$800m) through to the end 2015, the highest spend since the beginning.

As has been the case for the last 12 years, there is no Japanese money in the new investment.

Capacity will double to 100,000 units yearly and Ramos expects to account for 2% of a market likely to reach nearly 5m new vehicles annually by then.

The move means Mitsubishi passenger cars will be assembled in Brazil for the first time. The five-year plan will see the C-segment Lancer on sale in 2012 and the Pajero Dakar (Pajero Sport in some markets) a year earlier. The Dakar uses the chassis of the L200 Triton, which has been assembled in Catalão since October 2007.

The other Brazilian assembled models are the TR4 compact SUV (which was called the Pajero iO in Japan and the Shogun Pinin when assembled in Italy), the L200 medium-size pickup and its SUV variant, the Pajero Sport.

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